Just plain and simple

Working with Death can sometimes be a bitter pill. In the last couple months, several friends have lost companions, friends, and family members. Not even I am immune to it. Less then a month ago I had to put my dog down.


There she is in all her glory. Next year she would have been twenty. I know she had a good life, after all, that is an incredibly long time for a dog to live. I also knew that, whether I wanted to or not, I had to be there when she passed. So I pushed it off as long as I could, until the day finally came where the light in her eyes changed. She was such a fighter that she never let that spark go away. She refused to admit that she was in pain, that she couldn’t bark anymore, or that she was just tired. This is where being linked to Death becomes so very bittersweet, because I looked into her face one morning and I watched the change happen. That spark slowly slipped away from her. She sighed so heavily. I knew she was ready, and she was telling me that it was time for me to do my job.

Less then three days later we were at the vet. We were surrounded by friends and family. Even Hela was there. Because this was a most important soul to take back to Helheim and watch over. My sweet dog had been pampered and given days worth of her favorite foods. And now she was happy to move on. I still wasn’t ready, but it wasn’t my choice to make anymore. I held her in my arms as the vet did their job, and felt the life just disappear. I could feel her almost thanking me and then she was gone. Her and Hela, heading home to wait for me. 

It was the hardest thing I have ever done. I still have one dog and this experience won’t stop me from having more dogs. But I digress. In the end, this is just a reminder. When you work with the Gods, it isn’t all rainbows and unicorns, it isn’t always happy fun time. Sometimes you have to do the shit work. Those are the times that make you stronger, that make you the person you need to be. 

To put it simply; suck it up and do what you are supposed to do.

My trouble with Trancing.

As some of you who have read my blog know, I have a very diverse background when it comes to magick and spirituality. In case you haven’t, let me give you a little breakdown. From the age of roughly 13, I have been involved in something non standard as belief systems go. I started with a strictly spiritualism concept; ouija boards and seances mostly. As I got older the more I did, the more I wanted and eventually went down any path I could find who was willing to teach me. Just to give a small example; Wicca, satanism, chaos magick, Follower of Set, etc. you name it and I may have done it. 

Because of the darker path I walked, the very concept of letting a spirit or being piggy back or inhabit your body is not high on my list of fun times. While I was a chaos Mage I went to a meeting of a national group in Milwaukee. This was my first time really hooking up with an established ‘coven’. The ritual that night would be to call down and embody the primal forces of chaos. I know now how bad this actually sounded but when your young you think your invulnerable. Having brought my anathema (really more of a sword then a dagger), I walked into the circle as the group of 6 of us began the ritual. In case you haven’t done chaos magick before, the system allows for your own interpretation and creation of your gods. This means that you can worship Bugs Bunny as your god if you see him as such. The ritual progressed and each one of us in turn was ‘tranced ‘ by our view of chaos. This would have been fine if I saw chaos as a writhing, twisting, idiot God like the rest of the group did. My god was cold and calculating, looking for any angle or means to spread chaos as far as it could. Sex and violence held no bearing for him. Think of Arioch from the Elric of Melnibone series and you have something very close. I was lucky that I did not give in totally because I would have walked out of that room covered in blood that would not have been mine.

Now I understand that most Trancing and trancers never go through something this extreme, but having been there I am very wary of anything that involves this style of magick. And with those thoughts, I come to the reason for this post. I have tranced Hela once in the last year that I have been dedicated/spoused to her. Today will be the second time that this will happen. I would be lying if I said that the very concept doesn’t scare the shit out of me. Even though I trust her and love her, there is this fear of loosing control. It’s almost comical because of all the gods that I shouldn’t worry about, she is that goddess. She is control and duty. She exemplifies doing what must be done and mak no it the best that can be done.

No matter how much I am scared. No matter how much that little voice in the back of my head screams at me not to do this. I am still going to do this. My girlfriend says; “if your going to be the face of your Goddess, if your going to be her priest, then you have to do those things you don’t want to do. And you do them for her.” 

Those who came before…

Now, that I have some time this write again, I want to start on a topic that many of us can get behind. As a devotee of Hela, it surprises me that I don’t do a lot more work with ancestors. In all honesty I know very little about most of them. My grandparents on either side were not ones to talk to much about our descendants and early family members. I bring this up because recently my mother gave me the death notices of my grandfather, two of my great-grandfathers, and my great-grandmother. And as such sought there reading over them, I began to compare both my mother’s and my father’s father. I realized how similar and how different they really were and how much they both affected the growth of a young boy.

On my fathers side, grandpa Hilton was a hard man. He was raised with the idea that a man is a man. Men drank hard, worked hard,played hard and no one would tell them otherwise. He had this Ernest Hemmingway complex and didn’t let his wife or children dissuade his ideal. I learned later in life that he was an abuser. He beat his wife and his sons because he was raised in a time where that was what a man did to control his family. He was als abused by his father who was abused by his father, a cycle that would eventually end. His ideals would eventually ally be his undoing, however. All that manly living would kill him, it distorted each of his sons in different ways, and turned his wife into an emotional abuser. That being said, he was the only one on my fathers side who knew how to treat a young boy. He was never mean or violent with me. He was always willing to take the t me the tell me stories and teach me to build something new. I learned how to be a man, and how not the be a man from him.

On my mothers side, grandpa Reiland had grown up in a very similar way. He had been the brunt to f his families abuse, but where grandpa Hilton would never break the cycle, he did. He taught me that a man does what is necessary to protect and provide for his family. A man respects all life; men,women,children,animals. It doesn’t matter who or what they are. He was not a perfect man either, sometimes his abuse got the better of him and he would explode but he never hit any of his family because of it. 

I started thinking about my grandfathers because this will be the tenth anniversary of grandpa Reilands death. Ten years ago, this October, he finally lost his battle with Alzheimer’s. The both taught me what it means to be a man, both of them worked very hard to provide. They believed a man protected his family in the best way possible. They also believed that life was worth living and enjoying. 

I miss them both very much.

So what does any of this have to do with ancestors or Hela? I know that if either man were a heathen, they would be in Helheim right this moment. They would be working hard in the fields and towns helping to give every soul a good afterlife. They may not have died on the battlefield but they were warriors none the less, and I would be honored that stand next to them whether it is to hold a shovel or a sword. This is an important thing to understand in our modern society. Almost none of us, as heathens, are going to die on the field of battle. None the of us will taste the blood of our enemies. We will get old, get sick, become injured, and pass away quietly if we are lucky. And like most of our ancestors we will find ourselves crossing the bridge to Helheim to live out our unlives until the End. It doesn’t matter if you worship Odin, Thor, Freya, Freyr, Loki, etc, we will all have a seat at Hela’s table. It only matters that we are heathens.

30 Days of Loki … Day 22 Something Different

Five days have passed since I was last able to write, and now that I have a chance I want to talk about a side of Loki that not many people have experienced. I want to set this up a little before I dive right in. Right now, this is peak season at work. Ten and even twelve hour days are very common until after the new year. As such, finding time to do more then eat and sleep has become difficult. I go into work every day, and I may not like the way things are, I do my best to accept them and keep a smile on my face. Not out of any misguided thought that I will get some sort of special recognition or reward, but because I work hard and I provide for my family. 

Loki understands this. Since December started, he has been very relaxed about my work on his “30 days”. There have been times where he has wanted me to post or even needed me to post, but in the long run he is just happy to be the center of attention on a month associated with his brother. I appreciate this. It has given me a much better understanding of Loki as well as a better concept of his rule of ‘no expectations.’ As I mentioned in an earlier post, Loki for me is more of the subversive or sneaky type. When he wants me to share a story or insight into him, he has let me know. And that’s really how this month will probably continue; sharing my insight about Loki when he feels it is needed.

We are now three days till Christmas or whatever version of the holiday you hold dear. I just want to say that I hope everyone has the holiday they want as well as the holiday they deserve.

30 Days of Loki … Day 17 Christmas

As I mentioned in an earlier post, the other evening was our monthly heathen discussion group. Each month we choose a topic and discuss the heathen aspects of whatever it happens to be. While not shocking, we chose the origins of Santa Claus.

Three of our own heathen gods have the potential to be linked to the Claus myth. Let me break them down, then I will blow your mind a little. The first God is Odin. Claus and Idin share many qualities; the white beard, one rides behind 8 reindeer while the other rides an 8 legged horse, they are all knowing, etc. the second God was Thor. Thor and Claus have a little less in common; they both wear red and white and they are both jolly and large of stature. The final God we discussed was Freyr. Freyr and Claus share a similar mode of transportation with Freyr being one of the few heathen Gods being pulled around in a cart. 

Not sounding like much of a Loki post is it. So what if I told you that Loki could make a stronger case of being Santa Claus. Loki is a master shapeshifter. Not only can he look like anyone but he can also change shape and size. How much easier is it for a jolly fat man to slide down a chimney when he can shrink and grow. Loki’s concept of naughty and nice fits better within the concept of Christmas as well.  When someone is nice they get rewarded, when they expect to get rewarded they tend to be disappointed. People sometimes get the gift they need or deserve over the gift they want. Loki is also the ‘mother’ of Odin’s 8 legged horse, so there is another coincidence busted. Loki is just as magical as Odin or Thor or Freyr, he is just more reserved about its use. And in all honesty, out of these four Gods, who would be willing to fly all over the world being pulled by reindeer? Who would enjoy the spectacle the most?

None of this means that Loki is Santa Claus. It doesn’t even mean that the creators of the Claus myth considered him for a second. It all falls back to an earlier post. “When you’ve done it right, people won’t even know you’ve done anything at all.”

30 Days of Loki … Day 16 Law

Last month I spent several posts discussing Hela’s gift of the Longview. It isn’t just a gift, however, as much as it is something that she teaches her followers to live by. Each of the underworld Gods within the Rokkatru tradition has something important to teach us. Hela teaches us vision. Loki teaches us self knowledge.

This is vital, in my opinion, to understanding Loki and his motives. Self knowledge can be explained like this; ‘No matter if you are truthful or lying to everyone else, you must never lie to yourself.’ Knowing who you are, both the good and the bad, is what being a Lokean is all about. And if you should try to lie to yourself, well Loki will be there to remind you. You can also view this as the gift of personal identity. When you can except yourself, so will everyone else. 

It is interesting that this does fall into the concept of ‘no expectations ‘ that I talked about yesterday. Knowing who you are means knowing what you are and are not capable of. As easy as it sounds, it is hard to accomplish sometimes. This is a world where we lies to ourselves on a regular basis. It has become easier to convince ourselves of the lies we can tell. Those who follow Loki, tend to learn very quickly that these lies are not allowed. Some get smacked harder then others, but we all learn.

30 Days of Loki … Day 15 Expectations

Tonight is our monthly heathen class/gathering. Every month we get together and hold a discussion at the local Unitarian church and discuss a different topic related back to Heathenry. So far we have discussed the basics of runes, how the Gods are divided up, and a general basics of Heathenry. It’s a ve y new gathering but we are slowly growing and heathens who were alone are finding others. Tonight’s discussion is about Yule and Santa Claus. 

This brings me to tonight’s topic. As a member of the Rokkatru, the underworld Gods each have an important aspect that they bring to us. Loki’s favorite words to me are; “No expectations.” In the rokkatru, Loki is a God of hard work. Now I know what your thinking, that Loki is the least hard working God. But it isn’t just hard work, it’s hard work that you do because. No fanfare. No rewards. No expectations. Being sneaky and subversive takes a lot of work. It isn’t easy being the God that everyone assumes is up to something. Even win you get away with something you don’t necessarily win the day. And that is what we should aspire to, working hard for the sake of working hard. Rewards come to those who don’t expect them. When you expect things, then you become disappointed they don’t come through. Isn’t that what the Christmas spirit is all about, doing for others. What about the popular, it is better to give then receive. And in the end, if you get something you wanted then that is great but if you don’t then the giving should be its own reward.

  
 

30 Days of Loki … Day 11 Popularity

In the current trend of modern culture, Loki is pretty huge. I would believe that if you asked the average person to name five Gods that they have seen, Loki would be on this list. And why wouldn’t he? With Disneys acquisition of Marvel comics, the comic book version of some of your favorite ‘mythical’ individuals has shot through the roof. We already know that Heathenry is one of the fastest growing pagan religions, and when you add the cultural popularity created by the Avengers franchise…well it goes without saying. 

That being the case, I would like to put forth that this resurgence in Heathenry and Loki specifically, has more to do with a little divine intervention then just marketing and money. Since Marvel’s purchase, I think that someone has been pulling the strings to get themselves into a better position to attract a new breed of followers. Loki was always a fairly major player in the comics, but he would never win a popularity contest. He was a villain, ruining the Asgardians lives and being a general ass to humanity. This is how he used to look:

  
Typical villain and nothing special to write home to your mother about. But today’s popular Loki is no long the villain that either Marvel comics or the early heathen stories made him out to be. He is an tragic hero, created once as a bad guy out of his sad circumstances. He is charms my and witty but still comes off as vulnerable. Plus the actor playing him is…well see for yourself:

  
Smart, British, and a definite rogue. If you were a God, who wanted to increase your popularity, why wouldn’t you choose Tom Hiddleston to play you.

Does it matter that the Marvel stories aren’t correct? Honestly, no. If you think of them as the introduction to Loki, those who really want to know him will do the reading to find the truth.

30 Days of Loki … Day 10 Music

Gods love to experience artistic representations of themselves. Whether through physical mediums like statues, visual mediums like paintings, or audible mediums like music, Gods enjoy being represented. Artistic means are especially important because they tend to have a certain level of passionate, emotional connection. It is through these connections that Gods gain a certain level of strength and a stronger foothold in our world.

It is true, to a certain point, that any form of artistic expression is viewed in a positive way. That being said, I tend to believe that Gods tend to appreciate the art based on the individual devotee. Hela and I tend to link through a visual level. While I could not draw a picture of Hela to save my life, I have an incredible eye for the beauty of pictures that I see through her. 

My connection with Loki is much more audible. Maybe this is due to a significant lack of emotional connection between him and I. So to create a stronger emotion, Loki appears to me through music. Having once been a singer, I can  still feel the notes and tones. My mind can create a world based around the words and emotions. So when the right song comes on, I know who is right there with me. Loki’s music tends to tell a story. Sometimes it is one filled with revenge while other times the story is about the underdog. The music tends to bridge the gap from goth to punk to rock and roll. Usually any music genre that once stood against the status quo. He especially comes through in alternative genres. Let me share some songs that I hear Loki through:

http://youtu.be/Wa7QmBtTOOM
http://youtu.be/0exDbJTslIg
These are just two songs I link with Loki. The music tends to be a little ironic, again he isn’t always a subtle God. Many times, he wants to be known when he is coming through. 

30 Days of Loki … Day 9 Symbols

Every God or Goddess has its own symbolic representations. Some of them come off as very obvious, much like Hela and her love of skulls, but some are a little more difficult to see. I think Loki falls into this category, at least the way I see Loki.

This difficulty in my ability to see Loki’s symbols is because of my viewpoint. Since I see Loki as a subversive, working against the “top 1%”, leaving a mark is against an M.O. But there are a few that I have come to understand. Spiders and snakes fall into this category. Both of these creatures tend to have an overall bad reputation but they provide very important services much like Loki. Darkness is another symbol that I have seen. Working within the darkness keeps those your working against from knowing what your doing until it’s too late. 

While this is not my area, these are how I see Loki’s symbols. I would love to hear from the full lokeans about any other symbols that Loki uses.